One of the most important things that teachers can do at the beginning of the school year is to learn as much as possible about their students. Reading levels, family / home situations, hobbies and outside activities are just some of the factors that impact learning.

Perhaps the most important, and I think one of the most ignored, factors that impact learning is a student’s individual learning style. Is a kid a visual or auditory learner? Does she demonstrate more of a musical intelligence or a visual-spatial intelligence?

Until a teacher knows the answers to these types of questions and documents this data, optimal learning will not happen. The nice thing is that there are several online sites that can help provide this information.

The Birmingham Grid for Learning has a nice site that measures a student’s Multiple Intelligence and provides a visual graph that shows their results.

Another Multiple Intelligences site is hosted by the people at LiteracyWorks. The site also has a useful list of strategies you can use depending on the types of learners you have.

There are also sites that focus on specific learning styles. Try the inventory created by the University of South Dakota or the test at the VARK site. Both provide easy to use tools and results.

Give each a try yourself and make a decision about which would work best for your kids. All are easy to use and will provide you with incredibly valuable information.

Have fun!